A dozen sprinters have signed on for the $250,000 Still Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. III) Oct. 2 at Keeneland as connections seek a preview of how their charges might handle the Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be run this year in Lexington for the first time.
The six-furlong Phoenix might well be dominated from the inside and outside. Kings Bishop (gr. I) victor Runhappy drew the rail at Keeneland and will be shortening up a furlong from his wire-to-wire score at Saratoga. He has won four of five lifetime starts and is likely to fire from the rail, although there is plenty of other speed in the race.
The outside post will be manned by Work All Week, defending winner of the Phoenix and also the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner. Off for seven months after last year's Breeders' Cup, the speedy Work All Week has run well this season with two runner-up efforts and a stakes score last out at Mountaineer. The champion sprinter will have to work early to get in from the outside and establish position.
A. P. Indian is another speedy type who is a multiple stakes winner this season. He had a troubled start last out at Saratoga against state-breds and looks to rebound here.
Frank Calabrese's Fast Anna, finished third in the same Saratoga heat, the Tale of the Cat Stakes in his first start for trainer Wayne Catalano, and is another one that will add to the early tempo. He was fifth behind Work All Week in the Breeders' Cup last year. Alsvid could be dangerous tracking the frontrunners. The 6-year-old won a pair of grade III tilts earlier this season and will likely sit just off the early leaders.
Sharp Sensation is another who likes to race mid-pack, but he needs to pick up his finishing kick. After garnering four wins last year, he is looking for his first victory of 2015 in his fourth attempt. Holy Boss checked in third in the King's Bishop after winning the Amsterdam (gr. II) at the Spa, which was his fourth consecutive win. He, too, might best be served sitting right off the early lick.
Bump Start has done most of his damage lately in allowance company and will bring a nice price here if he steps up his game. Waco represents more speed from gate 11, a possible problem for Work All Week. He has won his last two starts in allowance company wire-to-wire. Barbados finished six lengths back of Holy Boss in the Amsterdam, then finished far back in a stake at Canterbury Park.